Air Pollution a Priority at United Nations Environment Assembly

At the recent United Nations Environment Assembly, held in Nairobi on June 23-27, 2014, delegates from around the world unanimously agreed to encourage governments to set standards and policies across multiple sectors to reduce air pollution emissions and manage the negative impacts of air pollution on health, the economy, and overall sustainable development.

This UNEA Resolution recognized that air pollution, responsible for 7 million deaths annually, according to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), is a top issue that requires immediate action by the international community.

"Poor air quality is a growing challenge, especially in cities and urban centres, compromising the lives of millions worldwide. Action to reduce air pollution will save lives and provide co-benefits for the climate, ecosystem services, biodiversity and food security," said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) was mandated to step up its support to governments through capacity building, the provision of data and assessments and periodic reporting on progress made. The decision on air pollution is expected to strengthen existing work by UNEP in areas related to transport emissions, indoor air pollution, chemicals and sustainable consumption and production through programmes such as the Climate and Clean Air Coalition and the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles.

As part of UNEA, the Government of Kenya and Senegal, along with UNEP, sponsored a Side Event: Improving Air Quality in African Cities. Over 90 delegates participated in the event, which discussed current air quality issues in Africa, and highlighted efforts underway in 3 countries to understand and mitigate air pollution: Nigeria, Senegal and Kenya.

Participants listening at a presentation during the UNEA side event


For more detail on the UNEA outcomes, see

For more detail on the UNEA Side Event: Improving Air Quality in African Cities, see:


Meeting Documents



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